Anyone who doubts that the Republican Party can attract black voters need only look south to Louisiana.
During @Large -- a conference in Baton Rouge in May aimed at attracting black conservatives -- a black Democrat in the Louisiana Legislature, Elbert Guillory, announced that he was switching political parties and becoming a Republican.
Less than two weeks later, just up the road in Central City, La., a black Democrat city councilman made the same announcement. Ralph Washington, who'd also attended @Large conference, said he's turned Republican.
The mystery is why this is not happening more often.
I'm asked all the time why -- when it is so clear that blacks are damaged by the left-wing political agenda -- black voters so uniformly and consistently support Democratic candidates who advance this agenda.
My answer is that Republicans need to start acting more like the businesspeople they claim to be.
Any business leader who is convinced that his or her product is the best does not blame customers if they are not buying it. The leader doubles down on efforts to understand these potential customers better and how to sell to them.
There needs to be more appreciation of differences in the black population.
A 2011 Gallup poll showed that whereas 39 percent of whites say they are "very religious," 53 percent of blacks do. Many of these "very religious" blacks are conservative and very different from blacks on the left who identify with the NAACP.
The @Large conference, where I was a speaker, was hosted by Pastor C.L. Bryant. In the new film, "Runaway Slave," he tells his own story about leaving the left-wing black establishment.
Bryant was president of the NAACP chapter in Garland, Texas. But his relationship with the NAACP soured when he refused to speak at a Planned Parenthood pro-abortion event.
His eyes began to open and see that his traditional Christian values -- protecting the unborn, promoting traditional family, individual freedom and dignity -- were out of whack with the political agenda blacks were automatically signing onto.
Guillory is the first black Republican in the Louisiana state legislature since Reconstruction. Listen to him to understand why a conservative black leaves the Democrat Party.
He called the Democrats "the party of disappointment" and expressed disillusionment with Democrat policies on abortion, gun control, education and immigration.
Democrats "have moved away from the traditional values of most Americans," he said. "Their policies have encouraged high teen birth rates, high high-school dropout rates, high incarceration rates and very high unemployment rates."
Or listen to now-Republican councilman Washington:
"The value system I was raised up with, it really doesn't side with the Democrats. ... Some of the things I see happening today, with the entitlement programs, we have to change. We can't continue doing the things we are doing and survive."
Everyone understands that black American history is unique and complicated.
But wallowing in the past is never an answer to anyone's personal challenges.
The challenge is clarifying right from wrong and acting accordingly going forward.
It has always seemed pretty clear to me that traditional values and personal freedom and responsibility must be the agenda moving forward for every American of every background.
Black Americans, like every other American, need fewer taxes taken out of their paycheck, need to be able to choose where to send their child to school, need to be able to freely pick a health care plan that suits their needs, and need to save for retirement instead of paying payroll taxes.
You can't sum it up any better than what Guillory and Ralph Washington have said. There are many, many Guillorys and Washingtons out there in black America.
We need more efforts like the @Large conference to reach them.
American families have been damaged and out-of-wedlock births have increased six-fold from 1960 to 42 percent today. Government has displaced family. (comments)
Republicans should resist temptation to pander and point Hispanics in the direction of freedom and opportunity, what got them here in the first place. (comments)
Diversity should be about about recognizing "diversity of people's gifts, talents, and skills." (comments)
Low-income black parents need options, choices, for educating their children outside the public school monopoly. (comments)
Since Johnson, the government has spent $15 trillion dollars fighting poverty without reducing poverty. (comments)
What do successful, wealthy black entrepreneurs know that they are not sharing with their own? (comments)
In our president's take on the world, if there is a winner who winds up better off there must be a loser who winds up equally worse off. (comments)
The Tea Party captures a groundswell of dissatisfaction with business-as-usual in how our country is being run. (comments)
What kind of discussion can take place with those who equate a procedure in which one life is destroyed and another put at risk with going to the dentist? (comments)
In 20 years there will be no funds to pay one third of the benefits of retirees. (comments)
The growing percentage of our voters is not white and they largely vote for Democrats. (comments)
Free choice and private initiative seems to violate the religious convictions of liberals. (comments)
Why does America convey neutrality between a nation that is indisputably free and a government that is not? (comments)
In a Pew Research survey of last October, 25 percent of blacks expressed favorability toward the Tea Party, just 6 points less than whites. (comments)
Everyone, except the teachers unions, seems to grasp that public education in America, particularly in low-income communities, suffers because of lack of competition. (comments)
Mainstream means shrugging your shoulders at $17 trillion in federal debt, $4 trillion in federal spending, and a tax code of over 73,000 pages. (comments)
Cochran's agenda is to serve up government pork and protect the interests of his friends in Washington. (comments)
Thought police have no place in a free society. (comments)
Americans elected a president, twice, who was not afraid of being bold, of taking on hard issues, and of being ideological. (comments)
Religion and the institutions of traditional marriage and family are being challenged and, rather than being seen as enablers of our freedom, are now regularly portrayed as obstacles to it. (comments)